Archive for the ‘ Off Season ’ Category

Report: Cubs and Dempster Talking Deal….For Real (UPDATE: Wittenmyer Says Pump the Brakes)

I’m sure like me, all of you have been waiting on pins and needles to see what the next Cubs move or rumor would be coming from this week’s Winter Meetings.  Well thanks to Bruce Levine we have it, the Cubs and Ryan Dempster’s agent have discussed a possible return to the Cubs.  If you are done laughing I will continue, yes Ryan Dempster, the same Ryan Dempster that was “blindsided” by a trade that would have brought Randall Delgado to the Cubs at last seasons trade deadline, I hope he knows MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirateshis agent is talking to the Cubs.  Given everything that happened last year would you as a fan want Dempster back?  If the initial deal last year at the trade deadline went through I’m sure that answer would be a resounding yes, but as it was clear Dempster was going to drag any possible deal right up to the deadline Cubs fans grew tired of his act, and him.

So is this really possible?  Yes, it is, in fact the Cubs need pitching depth even with their recent signings of the two Scott’s, Baker and Feldman.  The surprise is that it is Dempster, and per Levine the Cubs and Dempster’s agent have discussed money and length of contract but no offer has been made.  Up until this evening the Brewers and Royals have shown the most interest in Dempster, with Dempster already turning down a 2 year $26MM offer from the Royals because he wants a third year.  The door seems like it’s open for the Cubs to make a play here but Levine cautions that there is a sticking point….wait for it… Levine sees a no-trade as a potential obstacle to Dempster returning to the Cubs.  You can’t make this up!  Ah Dempster, the lovable jokester, my favorite joke was last year at the deadline, but it seems as though he’s shooting for a new high, or low with this one.  More as it comes.

 

(Update) 

Report of Cubs-Dempster talks grossly misrepresents their nature. Negotiations not happening. Reunion implausible. #courtesy

Wittenmyer says not so fast to Levine’s report, I would tend to side with Gordon on this one.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Report: Len Kasper Has a Partner in the Booth

Per Danny Knobler of CBS, the Cubs have hired the now former color man from the Astros Jim Deshaies.  MLB.com’s Alyson Footer says that Knoblers report is accurate and Deshaies has the job.  Deshaies interviewed for the Cubs job about a month ago, and now it’s his per the report.  Not a name that many will recognize as everyone, myself included thought immediately about past Cubs players that are now in the business, but the Cubs went Deshaiesin the exact opposite direction, and I think that’s a good thing.

Brett at Bleacher Nation had a good bit of info on Deshaies from when he interviewed for the job.

“When Bob Brenly departed, because of the high profile nature of the Cubs’ gig, I expected more names like Deshaies to pop up – non-Cubs-connected broadcasters who just happen to be really good at their job. By all accounts, Deshaies is that. A particularly notable bit from the above-linked Patrick Mooney article, is a selection from Houston Press’s 2008 Best Commentator distinction: “Jim Deshaies had some tough shoes to fill when he took over the Astros analyst spot from Larry Dierker. But let’s just say, as J.D. settles into his second decade as the Astros TV analyst, that he has not only surpassed Dierker, he has perhaps surpassed every other analyst in baseball. The former starting pitcher knows the ins and outs of the game, from pitching to hitting to fielding to strategy. Best of all, he’s not a homer, and if the good guys goof up, he’ll let you know how and why. And then there’s his quick wit and his ability to throw out a Seinfeld reference or obscure pop culture trivia at a moment’s notice. Nothing gets past Deshaies, and, if you pay attention, you’ll learn more from him than just about any baseball geek in the country.” Knows the game, shares stories, calls players out for obvious screw-ups, pop-culture references. Sound familiar?”

Really sounds like a nice hire, and I’ve personally enjoyed listening to Deshaies via highlights of Astros games here and there.  The Cubs and WGN have yet to confirm, but it sounds like a done deal.  How about that, the first signing by the Cubs coming out of the Winter Meetings is Len Kasper’s broadcast partner.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Reach Agreement with Kyuji Fujikawa

As reported by Ken Rosenthal the Cubs have reached an agreement pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa.  The 32- year- old closer has pitched the last six years for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan where he has 202 career saves with a 1.36 ERA.  The deal is for two years with a vesting option worth 9.5 million.  According to Rosenthal the deal breaks down as follows:  $1M signing bonus, $4M for both 2013 and 2014 seasons, plus $5.5M or $6M based on games finished.  If the option does not vest their is a $500K buyout.

It was speculated that Fujikawa was going to sign with the Angels, but the Cubs swooped in and grabbed him.  The Cubs will now have a decision to make, whether Carlos Marmol or Fujikawa will close.  I am sure the Cubs will still actively be trying to move Marmol, so we will just have to wait and see what happens.  Even if Marmol does not get moved I would not be surprised to see Fujikawa as the closer.

Thanks for reading,
-Mark

Cubs Non-Tender Ian Stewart, Among Others

Some Cubs roster moves today, figured this was coming based on the comments from Jed Hoyer earlier in the day.

via Bleacher Nation

“According to Paul Sullivan, Carrie Muskat, and Bruce Miles on Twitter, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said a couple interesting things this afternoon:

(1) He expects the Cubs’ 40-man roster to be under 40 by tonight (it currently stands at 40); and

(2) The Cubs are “very likely” (per Sullivan) to have a couple of non-tenders (Muskat used the words “may have a couple non-tendered”).”

This led to some speculation that there would be an unexpected non-tender as the five arbitration eligible players were Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, Luis Valbuena, and Ian Stewart.  ian-stewart-10Not the case, and I think there was some confusion in the reporting process of Hoyer’s comments, so moving onto the news of the day.

The Cubs non-tendered Ian Stewart, Zach Putnam, and Jaye Chapman today, essentially making them free agents immediately.  All three players drop off the 40 man roster, leaving the 40 man roster at 37 currently.  I said essentially free agents because teams sometimes do this to save money on arbitration eligible players.  If the Cubs think that they can still sign all three players but at a lesser cost, it makes sense to non-tender them and then sign them on the open market.  With that said, all three players are now in the FA pool and any team can sign them.

The did tender Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, and Luis Valbuena.  All four of those players remain under Cubs control for 2013, and will go through the arbitration process early next year unless contract extensions can be worked out.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Casey Coleman Designated For Assignment

With the signing of Scott Feldman yesterday the Cubs needed to clear a roster spot on the 40-man roster for him, they did that today by designating Casey Coleman for assignment per Carrie Muskat.  The Cubs long-held out hope that Casey Coleman would fulfill the potential that they saw in him but that has not happened at all, especially at the big league level.  Expect Coleman to be placed on waivers, unless the Cubs can move him in a deal within the next 7-10 days.

via mlbtraderumors.com

“Coleman appeared in 17 games for the Cubs this past season, posting a 7.40 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 24 1/3 innings. Coleman, a third generation big leaguer, has a 5.76 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 165 2/3 innings at the MLB level. The 25-year-old has spent his entire three-year career with the Cubs.”

Thanks for reading,
– George

Report: Cubs and Scott Feldman Nearing a Deal [UPDATE] Deal is Official

Buster Olney is reporting via Twitter today that the Cubs and Scott Feldman are nearing a deal.  Buster continues that it would be a one year deal, but nothing is official yet, sounds like it’s very close to being official though.  If indeed this signing does happen I really like it.  Feldman, who is 29 years old, and Scott Baker were two solid free agent pitchers that aren’t that flashy name that people are exited about but they are quality arms that give teams innings.    Feldman has pitched for the Rangers for his entire 8 year Major League career and sports a career ERA of 4.81, not too bad considering where he was pitching.  Last year wasn’t the best of years for Feldman as he was 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA, but 2009 is when he really burst onto the scene going 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA.  He would be a welcomed addition to this Cubs staff, more as it becomes available.

[UPDATE]  Per Patrick Mooney the deal is official, one year deal worth $6 million, nice signing by the Cubs.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Sign a Number of Players Including Brian Bogusevic

Per Matt Eddy of Baseball America the Cubs have signed four players to minor league deals today, most notably Brian Bogusevic.  The Cubs also signed infielder Alberto Gonzalez who appeared in 24 games with the Rangers last season playing all over the infield.  Right fielder Johermyn Chavez was also signed, he spent the majority of 2012 in the Mariners organization at the Double-A level.  Catcher J.C. Boscan was also given a minor league contract today, Boscan appeared in six games with the Braves this past season.

Bogusevic is the only name you might actually know out of all these guys.  A 2005 first round pick, Bogusevic spent last season with the Houston Astros and appeared in 146 games.  His numbers weren’t really much to write home about but he will be in the competition to earn a spot coming off the bench next year for the Cubs.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Trade Brigham Back to Texas for Loux

I guess you can finally say the trade of Geovany Soto to the Rangers is complete now.  At the time of the deal last July the Cubs received right-handed pitcher Jake Brigham from Texas in return for Soto and Brigham was assigned to Double-A Tennessee.  Brigham was very bad, the reason he was very bad was a right elbow strain, because of this right elbow strain the Rangers and Cubs agreed that they would revisit this deal in the off-season to make sure everyone was made whole and no hard feelings.  Are you still following?  If so, good that brings us to today.  The Cubs have traded Jake Brigham back to the Rangers for right-handed pitcher Barret Loux, and a player to be named later, which in reality is probably the best possible scenario for the Cubs.

Loux had some injury issues in the past as well, but he once was thought very highly of.  Loux was drafted 6th overall by the Diamondbacks in the 2010 Amateur Draft out of Texas A&M, and subsequently failed a physical because of a torn labrum and other elbow injuries so he was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball at the time.  He was signed by the Rangers shortly thereafter and has shown to be past those injuries and with a decent level of success as well.  Loux, now 23, was named the 2012 Double-A Texas League Pitcher of the Year going 14-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 25 regular season starts with Frisco, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts out in Triple-A next year with the Iowa Cubs.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Fill Out 40 Man Roster / Sayonara LaHair

Today was the deadline to protect players from the MLB Rule 5 draft, players on a teams 40 man roster are protected, so it comes as no surprise that the Cubs filled out their 40 man roster today.  The Cubs purchased the contracts of right-handed pitcher Trey McNutt, infielder Christian Villanueva, minor league player of the year in the Cubs organization Logan Watkins, and right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack.  The other minor league player of the year, Nick Struck was not added to the 40 man and thus left unprotected and available to any team that may want to add him in the Rule 5 Draft.  It’s not that much of a surprise that he wasn’t added because the guys that were added have a better shot at sticking with the Cubs, especially McNutt.  I think the move to the pen was the right one for McNutt last year and he could have pitched out of a Major League bullpen last year so it was wise for the Cubs to go in that direction.

In addition to filling out the roster the Cubs also designated Bryan LaHair for assignment.  The 2012 all-star is said to be looking into an opportunity to sign with a Japan team for next season, if that’s the case I hope he has a great year next year, he was a lot of fun to watch for 51 games last season.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Bringing Back Shawn Camp

Shawn Camp is getting rewarded after a very solid 2012.  Today the Cubs announced their plans to bring Shawn Camp back on a one year deal worth $1.35 MM, plus up to $200,000 worth of possible bonus money.  Camp was one of the few bright spots on the team last year as he appeared in a career high 80 games out of the bullpen.  Camp posted a 3.59 ERA last year, and actually tied the MLB lead for appearances, it’s nice to see that his arm is actually still attached, I was worried in September..

Thanks for reading,
– George

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